Reviews

Niu KQi3 scooter review: Powerful, fast, and smooth as butter

You'll be hard-pressed to find an electric scooter with as rich a feature set for the price.

Craig Wilson / Input

Niu is best known for its Vespa-style electric scooters and mopeds, especially now that they’re being deployed by the likes of Revel and Lime. But now the company is taking its expertise and using it to build compact, foldable e-scooters, with excellent results.

Revel

Introducing...

The Niu KQi3. Niu’s made two versions, the Sport, and the slightly more potent Pro. We’ve been testing the Pro.

Craig Wilson / Input

The KQi3’s key proposition is its “bigger is better” approach to everything from the wheels, to the battery, deck, and handlebars.

And it’s a compelling argument...

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9.5in

The diameter of the pneumatic tires (which are also 2.5-inches wide).

Craig Wilson / Input

Tubeless but air-filled, the 9.5-inch tires make for a seriously smooth, stable, and forgiving ride.

Craig Wilson / Input

And the disk brakes front and rear help slow you down fast...

Craig Wilson / Input

350W

...which is crucial given the 350W rear-hub motor.

Craig Wilson / Input

Thumb throttle

The throttle is responsive and comfortable to use for extended periods, and regenerative braking means you often don’t need to brake at all if you time your release of the throttle right.

Craig Wilson / Input

Big deck energy

The wider deck and handlebars also improve ride stability significantly compared to the compacter scooters I’ve ridden.

Craig Wilson / Input

44 lbs

Those features make for a heavy load, but you can fold the handlebars flat for easier carrying.

Craig Wilson / Input

Niu’s also done a superb job with safety measures. There’s a built-in, adjustable headlamp with both daytime and nighttime modes (the latter offering 60-foot visibility), an active brake light, side reflectors (in addition to the front and rear ones), and even a bell on the handlebars.

Craig Wilson / Input

Integrated display

The built-in display shows you mode, distance, speed, and whether or not you’re connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

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Lock and go

The app can also be used to digitally lock the scooter so it won’t power on until you’ve unlocked it again (we’d still suggest chaining it to something, though).

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And there's an integrated kickstand, of course.

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20 mph

The top speed of the KQi3 Pro (the cheaper Sport tops out at 18).

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31+

Niu says the Pro will do over 30 miles to a charge. It's nearer 20 if you ride hard like I did, but that's still hugely impressive.

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Other vital stats

Battery — 486Wh Li-ion

Charge time — 6 hours

Max load — 220 lbs

Craig Wilson / Input

The Pro is slightly faster, heavier, and more powerful than the Sport, and goes a little further on a charge.

The KQi3 Pro is priced at $699, while the Sport is $100 cheaper at $599. Given their dimensions are the same, we’d suggest springing for the more potent Pro.

Craig Wilson / Input

The build quality, massive range, cushy ride, and impressive power make the KQi3 really easy to recommend.

It’s not just a joy to ride, it feels markedly safer than smaller scooters I’ve tested.

Short of a full-suspension e-scooter, the KQi3 is also the most comfortable e-scooter I’ve ever ridden.

You’ll struggle to find anything comparable for $699.

Craig Wilson / Input